The Risks of Marijuana and Pregnancy
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Into the Weed

The smell of marijuana is thick these days! Medical marijuana is legal in thirty three states and in the US territories, Puerto Rico, DC, Guam and Northern Marianas. In two thousand eighteen, Canada legalized recreational use nationwide and some US states have done the same. In fact, over thirty seven million Americans used in the past year.

But marijuana can be harmful and one major concern is how a pregnant smoker affects her fetus and whether the impact lasts. A recent article in The Scientist reported on large scale human studies focused on mothers who smoked marijuana at least once a week during pregnancy. The researchers did a parallel study with lab rats to compare the results.

Both newborn rodents and humans had lower birth weight. Human infants also scored lower in verbal reasoning and short term memory. They were more aggressive, anxious, impulsive and depressed. The lab rats showed similar changes with increases in hyperactivity and anxiety. Human babies’ brains had less synapse formation even though that’s vital for connecting nerve cells in the brain.

Their cell communication pathways were also altered which would explain the behavioral and intellectual differences between these kids and children whose mothers didn’t smoke marijuana. Finally, once those children became adults, their visuo-spatial memory was impaired, which is the ability to gather information from their surroundings. Plus, they were more likely to seek out drugs.

As marijuana gains legalization, it’s imperative that pregnant women know the risks. While this drug has the ability to help certain users, it can harm others.

For more information…

Prenatal Exposure to Cannabis Affects the Developing Brain
Children born to moms who smoked or ingested marijuana during pregnancy suffer higher rates of depression, hyperactivity, and inattention...

The Effects of Prenatal Marijuana Exposure
Marijuana is the most pervasive recreational drug in America. We have started to see a shift towards legalization of the substance due to its mild effects and potential health benefits for users. The commonality of the drug and blasé regard for it has increased the chance that women who are pregnant will use it. Compared to other drugs and alcohol which have well documented and known impacts on fetal development, research into how marijuana affects the fetus is less widely known because it has no phenotypic expression...